Chez Papa: French Goodness in Okayama

Chez Papa French restaurant can be found on the outskirt of the “cool Soho like” neighborhood in Okayama city.  From the outside, it looks like hundred of other restaurants, makes you wonder if there is only one sign maker in Japan. In my mind, Chez Papa is an amazing restaurant in Paris which serves amazing South-West food, will this Japanese iteration let me down?

We parked in front of the restaurant at 10h45 and they were already people waiting in line before the 11h opening. It obvious by then that Chez Papa caters to the ladies who a looking for pretty food at a good price.

The restaurant inside  is simple with a shinny open kitchen, a dozen of table and enough foreign objects to make it look French.

The restaurant is so popular because it has a 1000 yen formula which will get you a salad, a soup, a main course and a drink.

For 2000 yen, you will get an additional appetizer, a main course and a dessert. All menus are offered with a choice of rice or bread.  We both ordered the 2000 yen formula.

The appetizer consisted of a very thin toast topped with cream cheese and caviar. The second part of the appetizer was a slice of raw ham wrapped around a bread stick. It looked like a meat lollipop and tasted really good.

A skid and daikon salad came next.  The plum sauce was nice, the crouton very crunchy and the vinaigrette was quite good.

In this summer heat, the cold and creamy carrot soup that followed made a  lot of sense. The spoon provided with the cup of carrot soup was hardly appropriate for soup, so we both ended up drinking our soup straight from the cup.

My first main course consisted of a sizable piece of sea bream wrapped in Chinese cabbage served with a cream sauce. I can eat sea bream everyday of the week and this one was really good.

My wife first course was chicken cooked in a red wine sauce. The mountain potatoes were really interesting.

The second course was my definite favorite.  The plating itself was beautiful and the slices of pork with parmesan cheese is a dish I will remember and crave for a long time. Juicy pork, homemade chips and a dab of balsamic vinegar, simplicity is often better.

My wife shrimps turned out to be pretty delicious with a very original deep-frying technique.The tomatoes ended being eaten bruschetta style.

The meal is an amazing deal, the service is good, the food is delicious but one little detail seriously bothered me: the bread was served with margarine!  Who would dare to serve margarine in a French restaurant???

One little detail that reminded me that I was in Japan. We asked the staff to bring butter from the kitchen and they very weirdly could not find a single stick of butter…    I guess I will let this one slide and bring my own butter the next time.

The plate of dessert was simple: mille feuilles, mango sherbet and warabi mochi.  You can get this special dessert for an extra 300 yens if you order the 1000 yen formula.

Despite the butter incident, the food at Chez Papa is well worth the trip.  We were told that the chef received his training in Japan and there is no doubt in my mind that he cooks some pretty amazing food for a mere 2000 yen.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you think of this great deal.

Chez Papa


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